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Road Cycling – Island Explorer

  • Island hopping across 3 of Scotland’s best islands – Arran, Islay and Jura
  • Enjoy world class whisky and wildlife on the beautiful Island of Islay
  • Visit the third largest whirlpool in the world en route to the Kingdom of Argyll
  • 6 days professional guiding with lead guide plus assistant guide/support driver
  • 5 nights accommodation in 3* and 4* hotels/ inns/guest houses on a B&B basis
  • Meals stated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Vehicle transport throughout including ride support and luggage transfers
  • All ferry transport and local boat services
  • Entrance and admission fees as stated in the itinerary
  • Ride snacks, home-baking and drinks

Green Graded Road Cycling Holidays 1-3

Our Green grade road cycling trips are our most accessible grade of road cycling trips designed for active people who like road cycling but are looking for a trip that is easy going with mostly flat terrain. Our green graded trips are suitable for people new to cycle touring and looking for a different way to explore the country. Most days the itinerary is very relaxed and you can spend plenty of time exploring the natural and cultural history of the area as well as enjoying long lunches in some great locations.

Distances typically range from 25-35 miles each day with possibly one or two slightly longer days between key stages of the itinerary. The terrain is generally flat with one or two short climbs.

Before joining this trip, the questions you should be asking yourself are:

Are you generally active and enjoy riding a road bike?
Are you up for a challenge, learning a new skill and having a lot of fun?

 

Accommodation

This trip features some of the best hotel and guest house accommodation and food in the Hebrides. As outlined above, each day lunch is either a wilderness picnic (included) or taken at a local cafe/restaurant (not included). Drinks and snacks are provided throughout the day as you require. Evening meals are not included on this itinerary and we have the flexibility to take evening meals in local restaurants or pubs. Based upon our knowledge and experience, we will visit the best places to eat along the route.

Single Room Supplement

We do not charge single person supplements to people booking on their own. However you will be expected to share a room with another person of the same sex. It may be possible to book a single room, provided one is available. Please request this at the time of booking and we will let you know if one is available. For this trip, a supplement of £250 is charged if a single room is required.

You will be met by your guide at 1000 on Day 1 of the trip at Glasgow Queen Street train station. We will return to Glasgow Queen Street train station around 1400 on Day 6. Full details on how to get to and from Glasgow, please see our section: Travel to Scotland

Customer Kudos

Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us.

Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

That's why we read each of our client's reviews and although we don't respond to all of them, if it's glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.

5 star 15

4 star 0

3 star 2

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Peggy Forsyth 02/07/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

3Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

3The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Love the hotels and the food. Arran glenisle hotel was wonderful. All were perfect.
Your Guide
Sam was fantastic.
The Bottom Line
Great hotels, strong on logistics, great people who were on the trip. Needed van backup on last biking day and more communication on the difficult parts.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

Thanks so much for your feedback, it sounds like you had a great trip! Unfortunately as we are biking on Jura on the last day it’s not possible to take a support vehicle across to the Island, this is mentioned on the trip dossier but we’ll make sure to ask the guides to remind everyone on the trip. Hopefully we can welcome you back to the Highlands soon.

by Scott Munro 02/07/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
loved it all
Accommodation and Food
although can't believe that sticky toffee pudding is so out of fashion in Scotland
Your Guide
both of the guys did an excellent job
The Bottom Line

by Douglas Welsh 25/06/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
All excellent.
I don't recall laundry detergent being on the list of required items, but it was definitely handy on our trip (detergent to wash some bike stuff in the sink at the end of the day).
As well, I didn't know where to meet in the Queen Street Station, but once we got there, it is a small station and it was no problem finding people on day one.
Trip Comments
Nice variety on all the three islands (Arran, Islay, and Jura). Good group of people and excellent leaders. Food was very good at all three locations. The bike jersey supplied by WS was really handy as well.
Accommodation and Food
Food was surprisingly good, very good. Good food is really appreciated after a long day of riding. We really liked the picnic lunches, but even the places where we went out for lunch was super (Day 2). The coffee break in the morning was also perfect timing. Accommodation was basic, but clean and comfortable, which was what we expected. Accommodation on Islay (Bridgs'end) was the nicest for sure (clean and nice dining room). Lamlash hotel had good food and sunny outdoor patio, but carpet in room could use a cleaning and the shower doors were poor (water was leaking out and on the wall - there was a fair bit of mould on the wall just outside the shower door from leaky water being built up over time). Milfort Bay accommodation had best potential (the largest room, beautiful view, excellent dining areas), but bed covers were way too short and bathroom shower glass window could have been a few inches longer so water wouldn't leak over the floor as much.
Your Guide
Sam and Kelty were excellent guides - friendly, knowledgeable, safety conscious. Good guides make the trip.
The Bottom Line
A 5. Great experience, top notch, Scotland is beautiful. It is a wonderful trip for people who are looking for a combination of good food, beautiful scenery, meeting others, and actively exercising.

by Barbara Whetnall 25/07/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The customer service is excellent. The itineraries are really clear and the equipment list exactly right.
Trip Comments
The Island Explorer trip is magical. Each island is different. The rain and wind on the first days only added to the adventure and made the ride more magical. The mist in the hills and sunshine, the gravel roads, wildflowers and the wildlife was delightful.
Accommodation and Food
The range of food and accommodation was impressive. All the places were very welcoming and comfortable - and the picnics were great.
Your Guide
Craig, Helen and Ben were great and looked after all of us really well. Their knowledge, experience, excellent humour and sense of adventure made the whole trip so enjoyable. I now look at oyster catchers in a whole new light!
The Bottom Line
Final verdict? Superb. The cycling is fantastic - but also it is an opportunity to stop and hear real quiet - the humming of bees, the call of seals in the bay, and curlews - marvellous. I would recommend Wilderness Scotland to everyone.

by Victor Johnston 08/07/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
My daughter booked it as a surprise present and got excellent advice so that it was absolutely appropriate for me.
Trip Comments
Great accommodation,mature knowledgeable guides. Highlights: all of Islay, flexibility of tour as a new cyclist got a chance to test myself and am now hooked.
Accommodation and Food
Very high standard much more so than I expected
Your Guide
Both excellent with vast and complimentary range of knowledge.
Have got me hooked on cycling,cleats and a cycle camp in Mallorca next Spring,wonder if I'll still be singing Cube's praises slogging up 'lumpy' Mallorcan terrain?
The Bottom Line
Excellent trip and looking forward to my next one with you

by Mark Hynes 26/06/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
A confirmation of bike hire requests would have been useful.
Trip Comments
Trip highlights were the 5 star accommodation and meals, stunning scenery, the peace and quiet of the routes generally, experiencing the Corryvreckan Whirlpool and seeing a sea eagle.
Accommodation and Food
The accommodation, meals and picnic lunches were top class. Everything was 5 star all the way!
Your Guide
From the moment we met up with the guides at the start of the trip to when we were dropped off at the end, we had a very relaxing time and knew that everything had and would be taken care off..... even my marmite request for breakfast was answered!!
We very much enjoyed hearing about the wildlife and geographical points of interest along the way too. Both guides were very encouraging and it was lovely to be complimented at the end of each day that we had done well!
The Bottom Line
I have already recommended a trip with Wilderness Scotland to some of my friends and my sister and we only got back last week!
We have never been on an organised cycle trip before and would have no doubts about booking another trip with wilderness Scotland again.

by Viv Burney 30/05/2016

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
There was some delay on confirming the end date of the holiday as there was a suggestion that an extra day might be added. This delayed us making our travel arrangements, though was not a major inconvenience. Otherwise, excellent service.
Trip Comments
The landscape, especially the contrasts between the three islands. The food, amazing fish and seafood - plus a great Indian takeaway one evening to make a change! The company, great group and excellent guides.
Accommodation and Food
Hotels very good. Mixture of picnic and cafe lunches excellent. Good restaurants for evening meals. It was a pity to have to miss our cooked breakfast one morning in Dunmore as we had an early start - perhaps the hotel could be persuaded to have the chef start half an our earlier for a group.
Your Guide
Will was a great support to the group, encouraging us up the hills, and very knowledgeable about the Scottish landscape. Ben did an excellent job with the van, lunches and the luggage! Both were very cheerful, enthusiastic and helpful, and managed to make alternative arrangements on the day when our cycling was rained off - a distillery tour with tasting!
The Bottom Line
An excellent trip all-round. However, I think it would have been better to spend an extra day on Islay as we hardly explored this beautiful island at all. Also, perhaps, to have more opportunity to explore the culture and history of these islands.

by Iain Dibble 23/05/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
The ride around Arran in the sunshine and the wild Jura coast and boat trip
Accommodation and Food
Liked the hotel annex at Bowmore
Your Guide
Thanks to Will and Ben for a relaxed approach
The Bottom Line
A well organised trip with only one wet day a great way to see a beautiful part of Scotland with like minded people

by Geraldine Cruickshank 22/05/2016

2Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

3The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I had to push you to agree to have mudguards available for our hire bikes. You changed the date of the May departure for the bike tour and then asked us to hold off booking flights etc when you thought you might extend the holiday by a day. Both these issues almost persuaded us to cancel the holiday.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

Thanks for your feedback; I’m sorry that you weren’t happy with the customer service before your trip and I wanted to address a couple of the issues you raised.

We did briefly consider extending this trip by one day but as you had already booked we wanted to contact you to ask if you had already arranged travel for the trip, which you hadn’t and also if you would still be able to join us if we did extend the trip, which you were. We did also advise that if we were to extend the trip there would be no extra cost for you. Ultimately we did decide not to add an extra day but we were grateful for your understanding while we researched this option.

A few months later you contacted us to ask if we hired mudguards to clients on our road cycling trips to which we advised it wasn't standard issue for our hire bikes. The reasons for this are firstly we have never previously received a request for mudguards and secondly, bikes permanently fitted with mudguards/fenders cannot be transported on our bike trailer without damage to the bike.

We did advise that if you wanted to bring your own we would be happy to fit them on our bikes for you but you weren’t able to do so.

To meet your request, we specially purchased some clip on mudguards for you to use throughout the trip.

We're sorry that these incidents made you think about cancelling your trip. We strive for excellence in all areas and are disappointed when anyone has any complaints - especially when we’ve worked hard to give the best service possible.

It sounds like you still had a great time and hopefully you will retain many fond memories of your trip to the Scottish Islands.
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Both Ben and Will were prepared to go the extra mile to ensure we were enjoying the tour and their obvious love of what they do was infectious.
The Bottom Line
It was a good trip, but the unpredictability of the weather (wind, cold and precipitation) has to be accepted as a likely occurrence. Also the state of the back roads are poor for the most part so it's difficult to admire the scenery as you cycle through it because you have to keep your eyes focussed on the pot holes.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

Unfortunately we can’t do anything about any potholes on the road but hope the relaxed pace of the trip and lots of breaks allowed you to enjoy the scenery fully. We’ll follow up with the guides to get their feedback on the road conditions from this first trip of the season.

by John Tite 28/09/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Everything to do with the booking was dealt with efficiently and updates with information provided on the run up to the trip.
Trip Comments
We really enjoyed the trip, the hotels were all excellent but each had a distinct character. Alasdair and Henry were excellent companions for the trip, making sure that everything ran smoothly and really looking after us.
Accommodation and Food
Hotels were all great, different styles but each appropriate for the location. Restaurant choices were very good and when we ate lunch on the road the spread of food that Henry produced was fantastic.
Your Guide
Alasdair and Henry were excellent, Alasdair guided us on the bikes ensuring that we were well informed about the landscape and local history whilst keeping us safe. Henry was always there in support making sure that everything ran smoothly in the background. Both were great company for the whole trip.
The Bottom Line
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and the level of planning and support that we received. We will certainly be looking at other trips provided by Wilderness Scotland.

Prices and Departures

19 people viewed this trip in the last week

Book with confidence - we guaranteee our trips to run as soon as 2 people book.

2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
12th May - 18th May 2018
£1,495
8 place(s) left
16th Jun - 22nd Jun 2018
£1,495
8 place(s) left
14th Jul - 20th Jul 2018
£1,495
8 place(s) left
18th Aug - 24th Aug 2018
£1,495
8 place(s) left

Trip Details

This island-hopping cycle tour has all the ingredients to become a classic – quiet scenic roads, excellent accommodation, food and some of the world’s finest whisky.

Throughout the week you will enjoy day rides on the beautiful islands of Arran, Islay and Jura, as well as crossing the Mull of Kintyre.

These small islands were made for exploring by bike and you can expect fascinating wildlife, history and culture along the way. Journey from island to island using local ferries and to finish, a private RIB charter back to the mainland via the awesome Corryvreckan Whirlpool – the largest in Scotland!  At the end of each day, relax in hand picked accommodation with mouth watering local food, ales and whiskies providing an authentic taste of the islands.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 ‐ Glasgow to the Isle of Arran

Meeting in Glasgow we journey to the west coast where we catch the ferry from Ardrossan to the Isle of Arran. Arran is often described as “Scotland in Miniature” with wild, unspoilt mountains in the north – dominated by the peak of Goat Fell – and forest, farmland and beaches to the south. After lunch we will spend some time fine tuning our bikes before going for a short ride. Afterwards we settle in to our accommodation at Lamlash to relax before a welcome dinner. (L, D).

Distance 8.1miles/13 km.

Day 2 ‐ A Loop of South Arran

Today we transfer west past the moorlands towards the southern half of Arran. Taking the “string road” through the middle of the island we reach the picturesque coastal village of Blackwaterfoot, where our cycling adventure really begins.  Hugging the coastline, we will be treated to stunning views across to the Mull of Kintyre and back to the mainland. This evening we will have a fine dining experience. (B, L)

Distance 40.9 miles/65km.

Day 3 ‐ Arran to Islay via the Mull of Kintyre

Cycling from our hotel we journey towards the north of the island passing Goat Fell, Arran’s highest peak standing at 874 metres (2,866 ft). Continuing north we come to to one of Arran’s the most scenic villages, Lochranza guarded by its ancient castle. Here we’ll make a short ferry crossing to the mainland on the Kintyre Peninsula.

Riding the short distance into Kennacraig to join our second ferry of the day; to the tranquil island of Islay. The crossing takes around 2 hours and journeys past the Isle of Gigha and through the Sound of Jura, here we can look out for minke whales, dolphins, basking sharks along with a whole variety of seabirds.

On arrival in Port Askaig, we will hop back on the bikes and ride towards our accommodation and base for the next two nights on the shores of Loch Indaal. (B, L).

Distance 36.2miles/52km.

Day 4 ‐ Exploring Islay & the distilleries

After a short transfer to the quaint village of Portnahaven we begin cycling along the west coast of Islay taking in the views of neighbouring Orsay Island. Descending into Port Charlotte will take some time to visit the Museum of Islay Life, home to over 1,600 items covering all ages from the Mesolithic, c.8000 BC, to the 1950s. During a visit to Bruichladdich Distillery, home to the world’s most heavily peated whisky, we will enjoy a ‘wee dram’. We continue around Loch Indaal, towards Bowmore, where we stop for a picnic lunch overlooking the loch.

After lunch we will cycle to the south east of the island passing three Distilleries, where we will enjoy a tour, before finishing the day at Kildonan Celtic cross

Hotel. (B, L).

Distance 38.8miles/62km.

Day 5 ‐ Jura and the Corryvreckan Whirlpool
This morning we board the passenger ferry at Port Askaig crossing the fast flowing Sound of Islay we reach the Island of Jura in a little over five minutes. Waving the support van goodbye we will venture onto Jura for a day of exploration. Following the island’s only main road we keep on the look out for red deer, believed to outnumber the residents by 25:1! Taking time to stop at places of interest from Iron Age Forts, ancient burial grounds and standing stones we cycle along the east coast of the Island towards the main village of Craighouse. Stopping at a small cafe for lunch we will enjoy some fantastic local produce.

Continuing along the coast, we pass by Barnhill – the historic home of George Orwell, where he penned many of his works. A short distance further we will be met by a RIB boat in the “middle of nowhere”. The RIB speeds us up the Sound of Jura to the Corryvreckan Whirlpool – one of the world’s largest. From here the boat takes us back to the mainland.  We will enjoy a final dinner at our hotel, set in 17 acres of gardens and beach on the coast of Argyll, and perhaps a dram to celebrate a fantastic week of island hopping in the Hebrides. (B, L, D).

Distance 36miles/57km.

Day 6 ‐ Return to Glasgow
After a leisurely breakfast at our hotel there will be time for a short walk around the neighbouring Arduannie Gardens. The gardens are run and maintained by the National Trust for Scotland. Due to the proximity to the sea and the warming effect of the North Atlantic drift there is a cultivation of many rare and tender plants from around the world. Our journey back to Glasgow will take us around 2 hours 45 minutes, passing through Inverary and Loch Fyne, where we can stop at the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and Deli for a spot of lunch before returning to Glasgow. (B)

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Prices and Departures

19 people viewed this trip in the last week

Book with confidence - we guaranteee our trips to run as soon as 2 people book.

2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
12th May - 18th May 2018
£1,495
8 place(s) left
16th Jun - 22nd Jun 2018
£1,495
8 place(s) left
14th Jul - 20th Jul 2018
£1,495
8 place(s) left
18th Aug - 24th Aug 2018
£1,495
8 place(s) left

Price from: £1,495

Next trip: 12th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: Multi-Location

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 3

17 review(s)

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
Great hotels, strong on logistics, great people who were on the trip. Needed van backup on last biking day and more communication on the difficult parts.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

Thanks so much for your feedback, it sounds like you had a great trip! Unfortunately as we are biking on Jura on the last day it’s not possible to take a support vehicle across to the Island, this is mentioned on the trip dossier but we’ll make sure to ask the guides to remind everyone on the trip. Hopefully we can welcome you back to the Highlands soon.

Peggy Forsyth
02/07/2017

3

Scott Munro
02/07/2017

5

Rated 4.8 out of 5 based on 17 review(s) of Road Cycling – Island Explorer

5 star 15

4 star 0

3 star 2

2 star 0

1 star 0

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